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Kevin Love agrees to shorter deal to stay in Minnesota

Jan 25, 2012, 1:02 PM EDT

Kevin Love Getty Images

Kevin Love could not get a five-year max extension off his rookie deal from Minnesota, so instead he has gone more the LeBron James deal route.

Love will sign a four-year extension with the Timberwolves at the max they can give, around $62-$64 million, but one that gives him an opt-out after three years (first reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN). The deal will be signed later Wednesday afternoon.

Love confirmed the deal with this tweet:

To #twolves fans: I’ll be in Minnesota for 4 more years! Excited to see you when I get back to Minneapolis.

This way he still gets paid next season but keeps some leverage over the organization to keep improving. After three seasons he can walk away as an unrestricted free agent (or force a new deal with Minnesota at that time).

Minnesota keeps its biggest star and the face of the franchise, however it also keeps its “designated player” card — a team can only have one player at a time signed to a max five-year deal like Love wanted. Now, they can keep that to use on Ricky Rubio (or maybe another player in a few years).

Love was frustrated that he could not get the max offer from the Timberwolves. If the team keeps improving that will be forgotten in three years when he can opt out. But by not locking him up for five years and a max deal — something he deserved for his play on the court and how he helped change the perception of the Wolves — Minnesota runs a risk. They created some bad blood hear that could bubble up again in three years.

This kind of shorter deal after the initial rookie deal is what LeBron James did, eventually leaving Cleveland when he didn’t like the direction of the organization.

Love is an All-Star averaging 24.9 points and 13.9 rebounds this season.

  1. illogic87 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Good for Love. It’s nice to see a player thats willing to stay with the team that drafted him and also be flexible to allow room for Ricky Rubio down the line.

    • kopy - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Actually, the Wolves draft O.J. Mayo. Memphis drafted Love, but got swindled by McHale’s best trade. Minor detail, but a fun note in history.

      • vikesorgtfo - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Although it ended up being a great trade, at the time most people and analysts though Mayo would be the better player. McHale did it because Love had a better attitude and specifically said Minnesota is where he wanted to play where as Mayo kind of just wanted to get paid.

  2. dluxxx - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    From what I’m reading on the Star Tribune website is that there is also an option to extend him out two more years as well, which would turn his deal into a 6 year deal overall. Not only does he have the opportunity to get out if things go south, but he also has the option of getting a 6 year deal when the extention comes into play. This should make everyone happy, and keep the pressure on Kahn and Taylor to continue to improve the team.

    A shrewd move on both sides. Can this really be happening???

  3. Josh - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Why do people keep saying Love didn’t get a max deal? He got max money, it’s just a shorter length of contract.

    • kopy - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Because you can only sign one player to a max 5-year deal. The Wolves not using this on Love is important. It’s in the article:

      “Minnesota keeps its biggest star and the face of the franchise, however it also keeps its ‘designated player’ card — a team can only have one player at a time signed to a max five-year deal like Love wanted. Now, they can keep that to use on Ricky Rubio (or maybe another player in a few years).”

      • themohel - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        Don’t the Heat have three players at max contracts for five years? Is this designated player thing in the new CBA?

      • cbt22 - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        @themohel, yes it is indeed a new CBA thing to promote things like the heat happening, but with out realizing that it will hurt teams like the wolves, or other small market teams that get luck enough to draft or acquire more then one max type player

    • vikesorgtfo - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      He did get max money, but because it isn’t the max 5 year extension, he has an opt-out option after 3 years (which he wouldn’t on the 5 year, which could potentially shorten his stay by 2 years) and also may have some qualms about the team not recognizing he is undoubtedly their franchise player. Obviously Kahn feels safer knowing he has Love locked up for 3 years and has the option to also keep Rubio or Williams on a max extension if necessary. Hopefully, Love understands the only reason he didn’t get the “max” is to ensure this franchise stays competitive.

      In 3 years if Love is still as good as he is now (or better), ideally the Wolves will have been in the playoffs the past couple years before and in turn I’m sure they will give Love a mountain of money. But you truly never know, case in point, Lebron James.

  4. illogic87 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:32 PM


  5. stadix093 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Woohoo, the Wolves have officially taken over as my mistress team for the next three years.

  6. sknut - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I like the deal its fair to both sides and its just another step in a positive direction for the T-Wolves. I am glad we can put this behind us and keep getting better.

  7. florida727 - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    This makes sense on all fronts. Love gets more cash than he probably ever dreamed of. The Wolves hold onto the trump card they may need to exercise on Rubio. And Love gets an ‘out’ after three years if he needs it. The only thing I disagree with is the part about Love opting out if HE doesn’t like the direction the organization is going in three years. The organization might owe it to Love to keep getting better, but who they really owe it to is their FANS.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Look at it this way: It’s MINN. They may be doing OK now, but history shows they aren’t generally real good. Why wouldn’t he want an out if their luck runs out? He’s giving them 3 years, minimum, to prove they’re on the right track.
      He could’ve said “One year and I’m gone”, and nobody with sense would argue the point. They’re lucky he didn’t demand 5 years.

  8. pistolpete0903 - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    It’s a good time to be a TWolve fan.
    Love, Rubio and Williams……giddy up!!

  9. goforthanddie - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Smart move getting the opt-out. Makes the front office work that much harder.

  10. vanmorrissey - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    ” They created some bad blood hear that could bubble up again in three years.”

    Think you mean ‘here’ not ‘hear’, please Kurt?

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